I’m reading two books about ultrarunning. The first, Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich, is mostly about his run across America, in which he tries to average 70 miles per day. That’s more than two and a half marathons per day!
This is certainly a fascinating new world to me (because I’ll NEVER run across America).
I love to read about other people’s experiences with running, especially when they’re so different from my own.
Here are his Ten Commandments of Endurance, which any runner at any level can use:
- Expect a journey and a battle.
- Focus on the present and set intermediate goals.
- Don’t dwell on the negative.
- Transcend the physical.
- Accept your fate.
- Have confidence that you will succeed.
- Know that there will be an end.
- Suffering is okay.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Quitting is not an option.
The other book I’m reading, Running Through the Wall, compiled by Neal Jamison, is a gathering of various ultrarunners’ stories about ultras they have run. Here is a passage from the book that stood out to me:
In the process of completely exhausting myself, I connect with an inner part of me ordinarily veiled by the everyday distractions of life. During that short time spent on a trail in the mountains, my life is reduced to its simplest terms. Most ultrarunners are people who find goodness and joy in difficult times, who see beyond the misery to the beauty of nature, and who truly realize the elemental and important aspects of life.
Everyone has their reasons for becoming runners, and they may run long distances for completely different reasons. The reasons can change. I started running because I liked the challenge. I kept running because I fell in love with it. I continue to run long distances because of both the challenge and the love, but also because of the way it keeps everything so simple.
Move, breathe, sweat.
All I have to do is move my legs and keep going. Everything else is optional.